In the Daily News today Frank Lombardi reports on last week's Alliance sponsored press conference and one thing really stands out for us. It is the incredible opacity of the NYC Finance Department.
In response to our pointing out that another tax increase on cigarettes will spur further black market activity, DOF's Owen Stone remarks, "Generally speaking, I don't think that people will look for ways to break the law...They will stop smoking or pay the tax." Is he kidding? His own department is charged with tracking this issue and, even allowing for the inflated numbers the city gives us on folks who have quit smoking, DOF must be aware the over 40% of smokers are already buying in non-taxed venues.
It would be nice, however, if Mr. Stone and his colleagues in government would join with us in the simple recognition of what is going on in the streets of this city. After all even though the "Emperor' Clothes" was a fable, its meaning is clear: There's a danger in blinding yourself to what is taking place right before your eyes.